More than just music: What else is happening at Wakarusa 2010?

If you thought that Wakarusa was music-packed last year, in the immortal words of Bachman Turner Overdrive, “You haven’t seen anything yet.”

I know, that’s not how the song goes, but it’s something like that.

Bachman Turner Overdrive is not playing Wakarusa this year, but there are at least 150 bands playing somewhere in the neighborhood of 200 sets at this year’s festival. In fact, of the 87 hours between the kick-off of the festival at 9 a.m. on Thursday and when the last note is played at midnight on Sunday, there are only three hours scheduled without music – each morning from 8-9 a.m.

My bet is that even those hours will be music-filled somewhere on the 650-acre site.

New on the music front at this year’s festival is a “silent disco,” scheduled nightly from 12:30-3:30 a.m. in the main stage area. Participants will be given two-channel headphones, and will be able to choose between two world-class DJ’s by pressing a button on their headsets. According to, there’s also “a monster bonfire to heat up the party.”

“As far as I know, it’s the first time one of these have happened in the Mid-West,” Wakarusa event director Brett Mosiman told us. “They’re popular in Europe, and it’s really cool to watch people jamming away seemingly without music.”

Also new, a coffee-house-type singer-songwriter experience will debut this year on the Outpost Stage every morning at 9 a.m.

“I’ve wanted to do this forever, and it’s finally happening this year, ” Mosiman said. “How fun would it be to see a nationally recognized singer-songwriter every morning while you get your coffee?”

Finally, for the spiritually inclined, Big Smith will be leading a “gospel grass” session on the Backwoods Stage Sunday morning at 11 a.m.

As crazy as it sounds, though, there’s a lot more to Wakarusa than the music.

“One of the great things about this facility is that there is so much to do on the festival grounds,” Mosiman said. “There’s fishing in four stocked ponds. Yoga and hula-hoop lessons. There’s hiking, kayaking, canoeing, and disc golf. It’s really a turn-key vacation for a lot of people.”

On Friday night, a new tradition has sprung up with the now-annual costume contest and freak parade. Last year, there were some pretty incredible characters roaming around the festival grounds. See above, or check out some of Taylor’s pictures from last year for further confirmation.

Wakarusa will also debut a full-scale carnival, with games and rides, complete with a seven-story ferris wheel overlooking the festival grounds and surrounding Ozark Mountains.

There’s a giant drum circle on Sunday morning. There’s a beach party Saturday afternoon at the Satellite Stage. There are over 25 food vendors and about 85 arts and craft vendors coming in from all over the country.

The best part? All of the above can be enjoyed this year with about 14,999 of your closest friends. As we told you earlier this week, the festival is almost completely sold out.

The fun starts with a couple of pre-parties tonight, and Wakarusa officially kicks off tomorrow at 9 a.m with Fayetteville’s Tiffany Christopher.